These women refused to allow the law of the land to dictate their lives – so they sued to change it.
#1: Elizabeth Key Grinstead – Though Key was technically an “indentured servant” who was to be released after 10 years, her employers refused. She sued them and won freedom for herself and her son.
#3: Charlotte Dupuy – She had to fight several powerful white men, including President Martin Van Buren, to gain freedom for her and her children. Though denied at first, she refused to return to servitude and was freed along with her children after a 10-year battle.
#4: Jenny Slew – When freewoman Jenny Slew was kidnapped by a white man and forced into slavery, she fought back. Not only did she sue for her freedom, but she also successfully sued for wages and damages!
These courageous women did not let an unfair and racist justice system stop them from seeking their liberation. As they proved with their lawsuits, we must pursue our liberation by any means, even if it means using a system meant to oppress us against itself!